Working in retail is a very common career. While the number of jobs available has slightly shrunk in recent years, the necessity of a sales force ensures that a career in sales still remains a robust job option. Millions of Americans work retail sales positions each year and average annual earnings for this position are just shy of $25,000.
There are typically few academic qualifications required to work as a retail sales associate. However, that doesn’t mean you can pick up a job without a second thought. Landing a job as a retail sales associate still requires careful consideration, as you’ll likely be going up against a slew of other candidates vying for each position.
That’s why it’s essential that you take the time to write detailed cover letters, list out good references, and craft a high-quality retail resume designed to catch the eye of a potential employer.
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How to Organize a Resume for Retail
While there are many different ways to organize a resume, below are a few of the most common items you’ll want to address.
Begin your resume with a header. This should be left-aligned or centered at the top of the page and include the following information:
- Your name.
- Your physical address.
- Your phone number and email address.
- Any important contact links, such as your LinkedIn or Facebook URLs.
Use the next section to introduce yourself in a brief three or four-sentence paragraph. Start by titling this section “Introduction,” “Objective,” or “About Me.”
Highlight specific skills, experiences, or education that help you stand out from the competition. Pointing out that you have a high school degree, for instance, isn’t worth it. However, highlighting seven years spent managing a team of sales associates at T.J. Maxx would absolutely be worth mentioning.
You can also point out career goals and objectives as long as they reinforce why you’ll benefit the company you’re applying to and not just yourself.
Your skills should reinforce why you’re the best fit for a position. For your skills section, form two lists, one for hard skills and the other for soft skills. Below are a few suggestions of each kind of skill that are particularly applicable to a retail resume:
- Microsoft Office.
- Google Suite.
- Any other retail software you may have experience with.
- Social media.
- Customer service training.
- Active listening.
Along with your skills, make sure to include any relevant experience that you have. Format each part of your experience section as follows:
- Company or organization’s name.
- Your job or position’s title.
- When you worked in the position.
- A few applicable achievements from the experience.
Your primary experiences should consist of other professional positions that you had in the past (especially in retail). However, you can also include any relevant non-professional experiences such as volunteering.
If your experience segment feels sparse, feel free to bump it down below your education section. If you do have important experience that applies to the position, though, it should come first.
While you typically do not need any formal education to work a retail sales position, showcasing your academic achievements demonstrates commitment and professionalism. Format each educational item as follows:
- The name of the institution.
- The name of the degree.
- The school’s location.
- The years you attended school.
Also make sure to include any applicable extracurricular certifications or training, such as being trained in a specific retail software management system or attending leadership or management training classes.
It’s best not to clutter up your limited space with a list of names and information. Instead, provide your references on a separate document. Include the following information for each reference:
- The reference’s name.
- Job title.
- The company they work for.
- Phone number.
- Email address and physical address.
As you choose references, try your best to avoid friends and family. Instead, look for professional references such as past bosses, coworkers, or professors, who would be willing to vouch for you.
Tips for Writing a Retail Resume
Here are a few more tips to keep in mind along with the basics:
- Be consistent as you write.
- Scrutinize for grammar and punctuation errors.
- Use action verbs throughout your resume.
- Look for keywords that are specifically called out in the job description and include them in your resume.
- Use a resume template or sample to help get you started, but don’t just copy and paste, make sure to personalize each and every item.
If you can utilize these items, along with the formatting information that precedes it, your resume will come across as an organized, well-polished document that easily stands out from the crowd.
Sample Retail Resume
If you’re still not sure where to start, below is a sample of how to structure your retail resume and what to include. Simply copy and paste this into a document and then change each part to include your own personal information.
123 Orchard Park
Buffalo, NY, 14473
A passionate, sales-driven individual with seven years of experience overseeing a team of 12 sales reps on a T.J. Maxx sales floor.
- Microsoft Office.
T.J. Maxx, Buffalo, NY, Sales Supervisor, April 2012 – October 2019
- Oversaw 12 sales reps.
- Consistently maintained sales goals and quotas.
- Designed in-store displays.
- Motivated sales associates to increase productivity.
- SUNY Buffalo, Associates degree in marketing, Buffalo, NY, 2011.
- McKinley High School, high school diploma, Buffalo, NY, 2009.
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